How To Grow Okra

Type: Annual
Name: Abelmoschus esculentus
Light: Full sun
Soil Type: Loose, well tilled
Soil Temperature: 60°+
ph Range: 6.0 – 7.0
Watering: Average
Plant (Payson): May 15 – July 15
Planting Method: Seed or transplant
Germination: 12 –  14 days
Transplanting: When soil and air temperatures are warm
Maturity (days): 58
Common Pests: Aphid, stink bugs, flea beetles, corn earworms, cabbage loopers
Common Diseases: Powdery mildew, fusarium wilt

Okra is a vegetable you either love or hate. The pods contain large seeds and slimy “juice” that some find unpalatable. Traditionally it has been used in gumbo (to thicken), fried with corn meal, deep fried or prepared as pickles. Okra requires warmth to produce well.
Okra prefers loose, well worked soil that is at least 60F. It is a heavy feeder of phosphorus, so it’s wise to add bone meal and Epsom salts into the soil. Epsom salts help the plant absorb the phosphorus. Okra needs high temperatures to produce well, at least 70-80°F.
Okra can be transplanted, but this doesn’t make harvest time arrive faster. Place a bit of bone meal into each hole and plant to just below the lowest leaves. Firm soil around the plant stem.


Okra seeds are very hard. Soak the seed overnight in milk or water, or score them with a nail file before planting. Sow seeds ½-1 inch deep and water generously. Thin later to 18 inches apart. Remember to add bone meal and Epsom salts to the planting area.



Black plastic can be used to increase soil temperature and will help deter weeds.

Water regularly so the soil remains consistently moist.


When planting transplants or seeds, add some of Glen’s Magic Plant Food plus extra bone meal and Epsom salts to each hole. Every 4 weeks give a heavy feeding of alfalfa tea or a side dressing of Glen’s Magic.


The black plastic mulch should keep weeds down.

Powdery mildew, fusarium wilt


Aphid, stink bugs, flea beetles, corn earworms, cabbage loopers, root knot nematodes.


Edible pods appear 50-60 days after planting. The pods grow fast and can become woody, so check daily and harvest while the pods are still tender. Here large is definitely not better. Pick fruit often to encourage plants to keep producing.


Okra has a limited lifespan in the refrigerator so eat it quickly.   It can also be pickled, fermented, canned, frozen or even dried.

 Helpful Links

To aid in your gardening success, here are some useful, trusted links for more information on okra.

Okra Growing Problems: Troubleshooting - Harvest to Table

How To Grow & Care for Okra - The Spruce

Okra Seedling Diseases: Managing Diseases of Okra Seedlings - Gardening Know How

Please remember Payson Community Garden is an organic garden. Some of these sites may contain recommendations for non-organic products. Please see this website or Plant Fair Nursery website for a list of recommended products
that meet the organic standards of Payson Community Garden.

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